Christianity in Crisis: 21st Century: Wealth and Want1

Article ID: JAF1321 | By: Hank Hanegraaff

Bible Study Group


This article first appeared in Christian Research Journal, volume 32, number 01 (2009). For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to: http://www.equip.org/christian-research-journal/


 “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”2
—A proverb of Agur


The year was 1979. I had only recently committed my life to Jesus Christ. Although exhilarated by my relationship with the Lord of the universe, I was also haunted by all the wasted years—years of living by the dictates of my own will.

I desperately wanted to make up for lost time.

More than anything else, I wanted to make my life count. I felt that to make up for lost time, I had to free myself from financial constraints. I decided to take some of the financial resources I had accumulated and parlay them into what I hoped would be a small fortune.

The silver commodities market seemed to be the quickest route to financial security. I had been watching its rapid ascent and had been hearing about its potential in the financial markets. My research seemed to indicate that silver was grossly undervalued and that it was just a matter of time until it soared to previously unheard-of heights. Even from what I perceived to be a biblical point of view, the ratio between gold and silver should balance at ten to one.

As I continued to consider using silver as the vehicle to achieve financial security, the market began heating up. I decided to wait for a price correction so I could get into the market at a reasonable entry level.

Meanwhile, I planned a visit to my parents, who lived in the Netherlands. My motive was to map out a strategy for financial security: I wanted to serve God from a position of strength as a prosperous Christian. As I would soon discover, however, God had a radically different plan for my life.

After several days in Holland, I looked for something to read to pass the time. Since reading Dutch had become cumbersome for me, I was delighted to find a book printed in English on the coffee table in my parents’ den. It was titled Evangelism Explosion. Once I began reading, I couldn’t put it down. Within a few hours I encountered a whole new world—a world of spiritual multiplication. As I read on, I began to discover how I could become an equipped Christian and live with eternity in mind.

I returned to the States excited about the possibility of spiritual multiplication and immediately enrolled in the evangelism outreach program of my local church. My desire for financial security continued to burn brightly, however.

Silver prices by this time had begun to skyrocket. Anxious to “get on before the train left without me,” I jumped into the market at $47.08 per ounce. Often I would look back and kick myself for not having acted sooner. I would calculate exactly how much I lost by not acting when I first began to see silver’s meteoric ascent. Leveraged to the hilt, I waited anxiously for silver to continue rising. It did. Within a few days, it hit the fifty-dollar mark and the predictions were that it wouldn’t be long before it would crack the century mark (one hundred dollars per ounce).

Eagerly I waited, fully believing that God would soon allow me to become financially self-sufficient. Within days, however, I received a call that caused my heart to freeze. The voice on the other end of the line merely said, “Hank…disaster.” Before I could respond, he blurted out, “The silver market just crashed.” I was told to come over immediately to cover the shortfall (a “margin call”) or my position in the market would be liquidated.

Over the next few months this would become a recurring scene. The phone call would come and I would have to cover another shortfall, always wondering how far I should chase the rabbit down the hole. With each passing week, I was losing more and more of what had taken me years to accumulate. Yet in seeking advice from the experts, I was consistently counseled to hang in there—that they were just “shaking the amateurs out of the market.”

Something else was happening as well. As I was losing financially, I was gaining spiritually. During the on-the-job training portion of Evangelism Explosion, I was going into the highways and byways and seeing people come to faith in Christ. On the one hand, I was losing my grip financially. But on the other hand, I was prospering spiritually to a degree I never dreamed possible.

Eventually I lost everything I had worked so long and hard to possess financially. But spiritually, I was gaining an eternal perspective. I was learning to seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33). I was coming to realize that He would take care of my daily needs. Like Agur in Proverbs 30, I was learning to pray, “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”

While Scripture neither condemns nor commends riches, the goal spiritually is to grow to such an extent in your relationship with Christ that, as the old hymn says, “the things of earth grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” The bottom line is to develop an eternal rather than a temporary perspective—eyes that can look beyond time and space into eternity.

Today I can only manage a wry smile as I think back and read the words of the apostle Paul to young Timothy: “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction” (1 Tim. 6:9).

A COMPLETE REVISION

So why do prosperity preachers redefine faith as a force? Why attempt to talk devotees into believing that Adam was an exact duplicate of God—no difference, no distinction? Why perpetuate the pretext that every born-again person is as much an incarnation as was Jesus Christ of Nazareth? What’s the point?

The answer may surprise you. Turning the gospel of grace into a gospel of greed takes a complete revision of what Faith preachers describe as “traditional Christianity.” Jesse Duplantis is a classic case in point. Addressing Cornerstone pastor and televangelist John Hagee at a Cornerstone Camp meeting, Duplantis explains that God is his comforter “because when you got some stuff it brings you comfort.” Jesse’s reasoning is remarkable, to put it mildly.

After clarifying that he is not just a millionaire, but a multimillionaire, Jesse says to Hagee, “The Lord, I give him the glory, is my comforter. If he is my comforter, Dr. Hagee, I live in comfort. That’s not only spiritually—that’s physically, too. Because when you’ve got some stuff it brings you comfort.” Jesse goes on to pontificate that those who would say otherwise “know nothing about the Bible.” With great aplomb, he quotes Jesus saying “the destruction of the poor is their poverty” and challenges those who “know nothing about the Bible” to “explain that!”3 Talk about biblical revisionism!

First, to say that Jesus is our comforter in that He gives us a comfortable lifestyle might well be said to be the height of cultural conformity. Jesus warned, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). The Lord then told His disciples the parable of the rich fool who was looking to his possessions for security (vv. 16–21). Jesus did not condemn possessions, but instead pointed out the foolishness of a temporary rather than an eternal perspective. Not mincing words, Jesus quoted His Father as saying to the rich man, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you” (v. 20). The Master’s command was always the same: Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well (Matt. 6:33).

How unlike the message of Duplantis and company! They relentlessly hawk the idea that prosperity is the divine right of every believer—a brand of “Christianity” that is little more than baptized greed garbed in a thin veneer of “Christianese.” As Quentin Schultze, author of Televangelism and American Culture, astutely noted:

Televangelists offer their own personalized expressions of the gospel as adapted from and directed to American culture. To put it more strongly, the faith of some televangelists is more American than Christian, more popular than historic, more personal than collective, and more experiential than biblical. As a result, the faith they preach is highly affluent, selfish, and individualistic….These three aspects of televangelism’s faith system…reflect the American Dream, whereby a self-motivated individual supposedly attains great affluence. They also reflect the impact of modernity on the church.4

Furthermore, just as Jesus is not our comforter in that He gives us a comfortable lifestyle, Jesus did not, as Jesse declares, say that “the destruction of the poor is their poverty.” Nor did He suggest that financial comfort was the destiny of those who place their trust in Him. Instead, Jesus said, “Woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry” (Luke 6: 24–25). As such, His message is the inverse of that of Duplantis, who pontificates that “poverty is a curse,”5 or of Hagee, who likewise communicates that “poverty is a curse” and that “it is the result of sin.”6

Finally, we should note that while Jesus did not say that “the destruction of the poor is their poverty,” Solomon did. Indeed, in the book of Proverbs he demonstrates that just as the prosperous are mistaken in considering wealth to be a “fortified city,” so the poor would be misguided in romanticizing poverty or using it as a pretext for laziness (10:15).

In sum, the very perception that Christians who are prosperous by the world’s standards are spiritually rich, while the poor are spiritual paupers, is as blasphemous as it is bankrupt. It is more than just ironic that marketers of such drivel are propped up by the dollars sent in by the very poor they exploit. When riches fail to materialize, the exploited often dejectedly leave what they thought was Christianity and seek safe haven in some other venue within the kingdom of the cults. They, along with their gurus, would do well to heed the words of the apostle Paul when he said, “There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3:1–5, emphasis added).

TRANSFORMED BY THE CULTURE

The problem here, of course, is cultural conformity. Far too many Christians are being transformed by our culture rather than by Christ. Seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness has been perverted into seeking our own kingdom and everything else we can get our hands on.

Nowhere is such cultural conformity more apparent than in the Faith version of the incarnation of Christ. In literature and tape, radio and television, Prosperity peddlers present a Jesus who looks remarkably like themselves: He lives in a big house. He is decked out in designer clothes. He has a huge donor base and is said to have so much money that He needs a treasurer.

For some televangelists, the notion of a wealthy Jesus is merely a dogmatic assertion. For Jesse’s Jesus, as for Hagee, it’s a biblically defensible argument. As such, Hagee points to the Gospel of John as proof positive that Jesus had a big house. Says Hagee, “John 1:38 says that Jesus turned to those who were following and said, ‘come with me,’ and they said, ‘where dwellest thou?’ He said, ‘come and see,’ and Jesus took the crowd home with him to stay in His house. That meant it was a big house.”7  Anyone who has read the Gospel of John will immediately recognize that “the crowd” that Hagee references is pure mythology. Indeed, the very passage cited by Hagee, makes it clear that far from inviting a crowd to join him in His mansion, Jesus merely invited two people to see “where he was staying” (v. 39).

Hagee likewise argues that Jesus wore designer clothes. As he puts it, “Jesus had a seamless robe so valuable that Roman soldiers gambled for it at the cross. It was a designer robe.”8 Again the notion that Roman soldiers gambled for Christ’s garment because it was “so valuable” is completely ad hoc. Truth is they cast lots for the garment of Christ so “that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” As common sense dictates, moreover, one garment divided into four rags would be of little value to anyone.9

John Hagee, of course, is not alone. John Avanzini, for years the star fundraiser for the Trinity Broadcasting Network, tells his vast television audience that if Jesus was poor, He wants to be poor. If Jesus slept under a bridge, He wants to sleep under a bridge. But if Jesus was rich, we too should be rich!10

Prosperity preachers are so committed to presenting a Jesus who wears a Rolex that they are willing to do whatever it takes to sell this myth to their parishioners. Oral Roberts, for example, wrote a book titled How I Learned Jesus Was Not Poor. And Frederick Price says he’s trying “to get you out of this malaise of thinking that Jesus and the disciples were poor…The Bible says that He has left us an example that we should follow His steps. That’s the reason why I drive a Rolls Royce. I’m following Jesus’ steps.”11

JESUS WITH A ROLEX

Prosperity gurus are not merely content to preach their pretexts. Avanzini, for one, goes so far as to attack apologists and theologians for teaching that Jesus was poor. In utter disgust he snorts, “I don’t know where these goofy traditions creep in at, but one of the goofiest ones is that Jesus and His disciples were poor. Now there’s no Bible to substantiate that.”12

During one TBN broadcast, Avanzini charged theologians with taking Luke 9:57–58 (cf. Matt. 8:18–20) out of context to prove that Jesus was poor. He then presented what he claims to be the true meaning of the passage—a meaning that has escaped the Christian church for nearly 2000 years.

Avanzini’s imaginative recollection of the biblical account finds Jesus on His way to conducting a “seminar” in Samaria. But, alas, His “advance team” had not taken care of business properly and the “Jesus seminar” got canceled. In replying to a man who wanted to follow Him, Jesus said, “Foxes have holes in Samaria, birds of the air have nests in Samaria, but I don’t have any place to stay tonight in Samaria.” As Avanzini puts it, “In those days there wasn’t a Holiday Inn on every corner,” so Jesus was forced to go back home to His nice, big house in Jerusalem(emphasis in original).13

Like Avanzini, John Hagee makes a mockery out of the words of our Lord as recorded in Luke’s Gospel. With reckless abandon he turns the good news of the Gospel, as recorded in Luke 4:18, into a perverted prosperity pretext. “What’s the good news to the poor?” asks Hagee. “The good news to the poor is this. Christ took your poverty on the cross and gave you the riches of Abraham. Brother, that’s enough to make a Baptist to get in the aisles and start dancing. The curse of poverty has been broken at the cross. If you have the anointing, you don’t have the curse of poverty.” Hagee goes on to promise devotees, “If you practice the principles of prosperity in the word of God, this [Luke 4:18] says God will make you the head and not the tail.”14

Is the good news to the poor referenced by Christ in Luke 4:18 really a promise of prosperity for twenty-first-century Christians? Was the curse of earthly poverty really broken at the cross? Are Hagee’s followers really going to be the head and not the tail? The answer should be self-evident. Far from a guarantee of riches in the present age, true followers of Christ in every age will experience trial and tribulation. While some may experience material riches, their focus, like every other follower of Christ, is firmly fixed on “a new heaven and a new earth” in which there will be no more death, or mourning, or crying or pain for the old order of things has passed away” (Rev. 21:4).

DISCIPLES WITH DOUGH

Not only do Faith teachers maintain that Jesus was wealthy, they contend that His disciples lived in luxury as well. Avanzini, for instance, argues that the apostle Paul was so rich that he had the financial resources to block up the justice system of his day.15

But how can anyone read 1 Corinthians 4:9–13 and contend that the apostle Paul and his companions had the kind of money that could block up justice? How could Scripture more clearly articulate their true condition? “To this very hour, we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless” (v. 11). Would not Paul have been duplicitous were he living in the lap of luxury while teaching Timothy that “people who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction” (1 Tim. 6:9)?

And what about Paul’s farewell address to the Ephesian elders in which he says that the Holy Spirit personally warned him of impending imprisonment and hardships (Acts 20: 23)? Or his immortal words in Philippians 3:7–9? “Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him.”

JESUS: AN END IN HIMSELF

Following the resurrection, the disciples of Christ never again considered their Master a means to their ends. To them, He was the End. Christ’s followers had internalized the message their Lord had preached through His life, His love, and His lips. They rightly understood that their treasure was in another kingdom and that they were simply ambassadors, sojourners, and pilgrims. The disciples knew this was not their final dwelling place. They recognized that their destiny was eternity.

Christ did not come to bring financial prosperity; He came to focus our attention on eternal prosperity. Even now the words of the Master ring with divine authority: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matt. 6:19–20). How magnificent a sight it must have been to witness the Lord standing on the shore of Galilee, pleading passionately with His followers to labor not for that which perishes, but for that which is eternal (John 6:27).

How much Scripture do we need to see the bankruptcy of the Faith movement’s teaching on prosperity? Shall we remind ourselves of Christ’s account of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19–31? The rich man, who lived his earthly life in luxury, was not even dignified with a name in eternity. But Lazarus, who lived in poverty, received comfort in the eternal kingdom (v. 25).

Or perhaps we should reread the words of Jesus’ half-brother, James, when he boldly declared to the rich, “Your wealth has rotted…Your silver and gold are corroded….You have hoarded wealth in the last days” (James 5:2–3).

The Bible is replete with examples declaring the poverty of the Faith movement’s cultural conformity. They have not conformed their teachings to the ancient Scriptures. Instead, they have conformed themselves to American society.

American culture is obsessed with upward mobility and crass materialism, which is precisely what the Faith movement panders to. It thrives on the idea that “God’s kids” can acquire wealth without work, and dollars without discipline.

Its watchword is not self-sacrifice, but self-aggrandizement. Sadly, a significant portion of contemporary Christianity has bought into the message that we only go around once in this world, so we had better go for all the gusto we can while we’re here.16 They no longer sing, “I surrender all”; they shout “I can speak it all into existence through the formula of faith.”

We crave “rags-to-riches” stories and frequently cave in to get-rich-quick schemes. T. L. Osborn, for one, promises people that by learning “7 Simple Secrets in Just 60 Seconds a Day” you can “Get the Best Out of Life in Just 7 Days.”17 As proof he cites, among other stories, the tale of a man who was forced to leave his country and found himself in great financial difficulty. Thanks to Osborn’s “fast-faith formula,” however, this man was able to buy “a Rolls Royce, and a new home.” Predictably, this man goes on to encourage others to “plant $20 or $50” in Osborn’s ministry “to see for themselves how God works money MIRACLES” (emphasis in original).18

In sharp distinction, Scripture commands us not to conform to the pattern of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Only then will we be able to “test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom. 12:2).

DOES POVERTY EQUAL PIETY?

Having said all this, let me make crystal clear that I do not associate poverty with piety (although the poor do have a special place in God’s heart; see Luke 6:20). The issue is not what you have, but what you do with what you have. Our time, talent, and treasure should be used for God’s glory rather than our own gain. I am persuaded that the Bible teaches a form of Christian capitalism—responsibility associated with wealth. It does not promote the possession of money for the sake of money, but instead encourages us to use money for the sake of the kingdom.

While some Faith teachers assert that they have the same concept in mind, the evidence shows otherwise. Not only do most Faith teachers induce their supporters to give by appealing to their greed, but they indulge themselves in the process. As Price boasts, “If the Mafia can ride around in Lincoln Continental town cars, why can’t the King’s Kids?”19 With bravado, he exudes:

You can talk about me all you want while I’m driving by in my Rolls Royce that’s paid for, and I got the pink slip on it. Talk all you want. Bad mouth all you want. Don’t hurt me in the least. Doesn’t bother me. It’s a whole lot easier to be persecuted when I’m riding in my car and I got the pink slip than it is when I’m riding in a car and owe my soul to the company store.20 

In the end, prosperity proponents teach a lifestyle of self-indulgence and selfishness, as opposed to self-denial and selflessness. The ex-wife of televangelist Richard Roberts summed it up ever so eloquently:

I know a lot of people were blessed and sincerely ministered to by what we sang on TV, and by what we said—but the overall picture, I’m afraid, seemed to say, “If you follow our formula, you’ll be like us,” rather than, “If you do what Jesus says, you’ll be like Him.” It was certainly more exciting to follow us, because to follow us was to identify with success, with glamour, with a theology that made everything good and clean and well-knit together. To identify with Jesus, however, meant to identify with the Cross.21

The difference between serving self and serving the Savior is the difference between cultural conformity and conformity to Christ. Jesus said it best, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23; cf. Matt. 16:24; Mark 8:34).

A Rolls Royce is certainly more comfortable than a cross, but it is clearly not as enduring.

ERROR BEGETS ERROR

Where Price favors a Lincoln Continental Town Car or a Rolls Royce, Rod Parsley favors Lexus or Mercedes. The elucidations of their errors, however, are virtually indistinguishable. As such, Parsley has parishioners practicing the preposterous. He instructs them to chant, “I’m on my way to houses I didn’t build.” Says Parsley, “Some of you better get ready to drive around in neighborhoods where you never thought you’d be able to afford to live.” Likewise, if they follow his formulas fastidiously, they are on their way to cars that are beyond their means. “Some of you better go down to that Lexus and Mercedes dealership and just sit down in one of those things with that leather all over it.”

If someone inquires about such strange behavior, Parsley has a ready response. “Say, ‘Well, I’m just feeling out what my Father is going to give me.’” If the questioner persists, asking, “How?” Parsley programs his devotees to say, “I heard a word from the man of God, and when I obey that word it unleashes that anointing into my life and I’m on my way to houses I didn’t build, full of good things I didn’t have to buy.”22

Joel Osteen is similarly disposed. Like subprime mortgage lenders of days gone by, he urges followers to reach beyond their means. He offers up himself as a prime example. While living in a “crooked” little house, he and Victoria came upon a beautiful home in the final stages of construction. The home was so far beyond the realm of possibility that Joel uttered words of fear rather than words of faith. As he explains it in Your Best Life Now, Victoria saved the day—and with it the dream. “Over the next several months, she kept speaking words of faith and victory.” Eventually Joel rid himself of “limited thinking” and started agreeing with her. “We kept on believing it, seeing it, and speaking it,” writes Joel, and “we saw it come to pass.” Joel now instructs his follows to do what he did. “Conceive it on the inside. Start seeing yourself rising to a new level, doing something of significance, living in that home of your dreams.”23

All of this, of course, is sanitized with a semblance of Scripture. Says Creflo Dollar, “Don’t you let them tell you, you can’t have a brand new, a brand new car, because if Jesus rode in on a donkey that no man had ever sat on, then you and I can ride in an automobile that no man has ever sat on.” Even better, according to Dollar, this is a credible way of reaching people for Christ. In his words, there’s “a world of people out there that don’t know your Jesus. But when they start seeing you with their stuff they’re going to want to know how you got it and they’ll want you to introduce them to the Jesus that’s able to open doors up without the college degree, without kissing up to somebody. They’ll want to know the Jesus that opened the doors that no man could shut on your back.”24

In fact, as stated above, Hagee tells us that “the good news to the poor is this”:

Christ took your poverty on the cross and He gave you the riches of Abraham. Brother that’s enough to make a Baptist to get in the aisles and start dancing. The curse of poverty has been broken at the cross. If you have the anointing you don’t have the curse of poverty. If you will practice the principles of prosperity in the word of God, this says God will make you the head and not the tail. God will open the windows of heaven and bless you with blessings that you cannot contain. God will give you wells you didn’t dig; he will give you vineyards you did not plant. He will give you houses you did not build.25  

If you listen carefully to the Faith preachers, there is a constant refrain. The way in which one demonstrates that he or she has faith is by giving. Not traditional giving, however. The kind of giving that ultimately opens up the windows of heaven and pours out a blessing that you cannot receive is “the give to get kind.” With those who have the temerity to respond, “I don’t give to get, Brother Jesse, I give because I just love the Lord,” Duplantis minces no words. “That’s the spirit of stupid on you!” It may sound “churchy,” says Jesse, but “that don’t mean nothing.”26 T. D. Jakes is unequivocal in this regard: “There are certain truths that transcend all principles”27 and giving to get is one of them. Even the notion of break-even giving would be “ridiculous” in the extreme: “It would be ridiculous for me to pray that God would give it back to you, because if all he was going to do was give it back to you, you ought to keep it…That’s ridiculous! If you got a hundred dollars or a thousand dollars and you were going to get a thousand dollars, I tell you what, you just broke even. You could have kept the thousand dollars and not gone through the trouble” (emphasis in original).28

This, however, is far from true. As Scripture makes plain, we give “so that we may learn to revere the Lord our God always” (Deut. 14:23). Moreover, we give, so that we might meet the physical needs of the less fortunate. In sum, we give so that we might extend His kingdom.
The world fuels an unholy trinity—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of the eyes and the boasting of what he has and does” (1 John 2:16). Genuine biblical faith, however, focuses on the permanent pleasures of paradise rather than the pseudo-pleasures of the present; it blinds the unclean eye that lusts after prosperity and wealth; and it ultimately deadens the pride of life that covets the things of the world.

For the rich man who died and found himself in torment, it is too late. You and I can as yet live with eternity in mind.

Hank Hanegraaff is president of the Christian Research Institute and host of the Bible Answer Man broadcast heard daily throughout the United States and Canada. For a list of stations airing the Bible Answer Man, or to listen online, log on to www.equip.org.


 NOTES

  1. Adapted from Hank Hanegraaff’s new book, Christianity in Crisis—21st Century (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009).
  2. Proverbs 30:8–9. All Scripture quotations are from the New International Version.
  3. Jesse Duplantis, Praise the Lord, Trinity Broadcasting Network, July 11, 2003.
  4. Quentin J. Schultze, Televangelism and American Culture (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1991), 132–33. Cf. Dennis Hollinger, “Enjoying God Forever: An Historical/Sociological Profile of The Health and Wealth Gospel,” Trinity Journal 9, 2 (Fall 1988): 145–48.
  5. Jesse Duplantis, The 700 Club, Christian Broadcasting Network, n.d., video segment online at http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=9cf573517f2152303a3e, accessed September 30, 2008.
  6. John Hagee, Praise the Lord, Trinity Broadcasting Network, March 29, 2001.
  7. “Praise-A-Thon 2002,” Praise the Lord, Trinity Broadcasting Network, November 5, 2002.
  8. John Hagee, The Seven Secrets: Unlocking Genuine Greatness (Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2004), 232.
  9. Cf. Merrill C. Tenney, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 9, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981), 181.
  10. John Avanzini, “Was Jesus Poor?” videotape (Hurst, TX: His Image Ministries, n.d.).
  11. Frederick K.C. Price, Ever Increasing Faith, Trinity Broadcasting Network, December 9, 1990.
  12. John Avanzini, “Was Jesus Poor?” videotape (n.d.).
  13. John Avanzini, Praise the Lord, Trinity Broadcasting Network, August 1, 1989.
  14. John Hagee, Praise the Lord, Trinity Broadcasting Network, January 8, 2003.
  15. John Avanzini, Believer’s Voice of Victory, Trinity Broadcasting Network, January 20, 1991.
  16. For a brief yet forceful critique of materialism within Christianity today, see David L. Larsen, “The Gospel of Greed Versus the Gospel of Grace,” Trinity Journal 9, 2 (Fall 1988): 211–20.
  17. T. L. and Daisy Osborn, She & He Photo-Book—Go for It! (Tulsa: Osborn Foundation, 1983), 62.
  18. Ibid., 65.
  19. Frederick K. C. Price, Faith, Foolishness, or Presumption? (Tulsa: Harrison House, 1979), 34.
  20. Frederick K. C. Price, Ever Increasing Faith, Trinity Broadcasting Network, March 29, 1992.
  21. Patti Roberts with Sherry Andrews, Ashes to Gold (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1983), 110–11.
  22. Rod Parsley, Breakthrough with Rod Parsley, Trinity Broadcasting Network, March 27, 2002.
  23. Joel Osteen, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential (New York: Warner Faith, 2004), 7–8.
  24. Creflo Dollar, “Praise-a-thon,” Praise the Lord, Trinity Broadcasting Network, April 6, 2000.
  25. John Hagee, Praise the Lord, Trinity Broadcasting Network, January 8, 2003.
  26. Jesse Duplantis, “Praise-a-thon,” Praise the Lord, Trinity Broadcasting Network, November 6, 2002.
  27. T. D. Jakes, “Praise-a-thon 2003,” Praise the Lord, Trinity Broadcasting Network, November 5, 2003.
  28. T. D. Jakes, “Fall Praise-a-Thon 2001,” Praise the Lord, Trinity Broadcasting Network, November 12, 2001.